Friday, October 31, 2008


ast posts have not been very interesting. Perhaps this will lend some comfort to those who are board.

Here's an example of a boy soprano:

Believe it or not, a lot of boys can sing very well before their voices change. As you can see from the video, boys' voices tend to be much clearer than a girl's voice of the same age. Interesting information? Maybe. Useful? Probably not. Well... Now maybe you'll go buy pieces recorded by all-boy choirs :-)

Thursday, October 30, 2008


- mazing Grace! This is one of those times you don't want to be there.

On a side note, this was kind of interesting:
I'd be interested to see the winning video :-)


e ne ne new nee! I DID IT!

Beck and Abb were convinced I couldn't sleep through a gerbil cage containing noisy toys, and I was convinced I could. (I have very selective hearing when I'm asleep.)

A few nights ago, Abb prepared a new batch a gerbils for my enjoyment. She had just adopted a particularly active family of gerbils and decided they needed a squeaky wheel, a glass water bottle, and a large box.

The specimen was brought to the place of testing. The gerbils started performing their acts of noisome kindness -- shredding cardboard, banging the water bottle, and wearing out the already worn out wheel bearings.

True, it did take longer to go to sleep. At one point, I was wondering if all three instruments of noise were really necessary, but determined to prove my sisters wrong, I went to sleep and stayed asleep all night.

Beck and Abb were not amused but thought it great blog material, so here it is! (Thanks, BTW :-)


y, my! Not only does he skip his sister's concert, but he went to Elitches instead... on a Sunday night at that!

Yes, folks. It's true. I am evil. I skipped out on the CYS concert so I could go to Elitches. You want to hear my excuse? Yeah? Yeah? Ok... Here it is! I've been trying to go to Elitches with a guy at church for the past few months and if looked like it was going to work out. My sisters whole-heatedly gave me permission to skip the concert and go to Elitches instead. (Needless to say, I felt guilty, especially when the guy couldn't come after all and I went by myself, but hey, it was free. (Free makes anything ok... Ok, maybe not.)

ANYWAY, when I got there, I found they had a new attraction -- a free spook house... "Huh," I thought to myself. "Is the "family friendly spook house" worth the long line?" I decided to try it out. I'm glad I did. It was so cool because the place seemed to be designed by a bunch of robotic/electronic hobbyists. It was like the robotic hobbyists conventions they have in California in our own back yard. I don't have a clue what was in the actual spook house, but I can tell you they used the same kind of motion detectors I got for *cough* may day, Bimba pneumatic cylinders, fairly descent strobe lights, more expensive smoke machines, etc. It was fun to see what psychological tricks the guys came up with, the way they implemented the robotics, etc. Here's a list of things I thought were cool:

The entrance was a ramp that went through a large tube. The tube had paint splattered all over it and black-lights illuminated it. The tube rotated. Seems kinda dumb. I've seen these things before and thought it a device that might look slightly cool but not worth the effort. I, being in the back of the group, noticed the people ahead of me starting to veer off to the side of the ramp while walking through it. I though, "Oh, brother." and determined to walk through it with no problems... Oh, how wrong I was. No matter what you look at, you unconsciously walk off to the side and hit the rail with great force over and over again. It really feels like the ramp is tipping, but it's fixed. Kind of cool how your brain uses your peripheral vision as a method for balancing. (Basically, you fall over as you try to walk through the thing.)

The strobe lights were cool... Several dark hallways were pitch black between strobe flashes. After walking through a hall with a strobe light for a while, your brain starts to think you're not moving. You honestly feel like you're standing still... You know those dreams you have where you have to get away from something but for some reason, you just cannot run? These hallways gave the same effect. Pretty cool!

There was a short hallway that had a bunch of corrugated drain lines hanging in it. Just like everyone else, I thought, "Oh, brother!" and fought my way through the hoses, wondering why drain lines were supposed to be scary. What they did, though, was divert your attention from the actor standing at the side of the hallway. Fighting your way through the pipes distracted you enough to create a perfect opportunity for an actor to scare you.

Another room was so densely filled with smoke that you couldn't tell where to go. you couldn't see for more than a couple feet in front of you, and after walking for several seconds, you'd start to wonder if you were going to trip on something... Meanwhile, an actor would run around the room, seeming to come out of nowhere. Where Art thou?

Well, I'm tired of typing and if you actually read this, you're probably sick of reading :-)


ament! The fun day of pawn shopping is over!

Steve, a very kind friend of mine, spent a great deal of time taking me pawn shopping last Friday. Pawn shops have an exquisitely unique personality, and I enjoyed them immensely. True, you'll see a tile cutter, bike collection, and car audio components at every store, but you'll also see things you've never seen in your life. Whether it's an outrageously high price or an Elvis doll, pawn shops are a barrel of laughs!

(I think work is getting to me. Pawn shopping was really fun, but my writing is getting really bad.)

Here's a couple pictures:
Pawn Shopping

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


eeled over, dying of laughter! Becky got a that there blog!

Man, I'm getting tired of this blog editor. It keeps messing things up:
It lost my comments on the "Bananas" post unless if you click on it or open the blog in a second window. I have no clue why.

The HTML is kind of messy.

I have to edit each post 3 times before it's very readable with all these pictures...

Formatting randomly changes between edits...


Tuesday, October 28, 2008


ust when you thought Elitches had died...


Elitches is almost closed for the season... It's sad, but things like that tend to end. I enjoyed some visits more than others. Some visits a lot more than others. Some visits were rather disappointing. What? Oh... Closed for a private party. You mean I just got off the bus and now have to wait an hour to get back home!?! Other visits were just plain "dude-awesome." :-)

I don't know why I still enjoy it, but I do. Ok, so I'm crazy. What does that have to do with it?

Beck and I are kind of physics freaks, so here's a couple tips to make your ride more scary:

Hollywood and Vine: You can get your car spinning really fast. Ride by yourself, spread you weight out on the back of the car during fast spins and pull yourself to the center when the spin starts to slow up. If you can catch it right and get the rhythm, you'll come off not being able to walk straight. You can also let yourself out of this ride and totally confuse the operator by sitting on the right side of the car and pulling the lap bar towards yourself.

Chaos: If your a guy, you have a lot more body mass at your shoulders. Use this to your advantage and puzzle the crowd as you're almost flipping upside down when the ride stops.

Turn of the Century: Using your legs in conjunction with the undulating motion of the ride allows you to turn your swing almost completely backwards while everyone else looks on in amazement and the operator yells at you.

Tea Cups: Get sick. What more is there to say.

Spider: Go by yourself. By moving from one side of the car to the other, you can make yourself spin sick even when the ride is stopped.

Troika: I can't figure out anything rewarding enough to make it worth the effort.

Side Winder: All I can say is ride in the back. The operator tells you to "move up to the next available gate", but if you ask the line operator, they'll let you stand at the trash can and get the back car.

Mind Eraser: The front car is the only fun car anymore.

Bat Wing: It actually goes pretty high and if you think about it enough, you can make yourself scared enough that it's fun.

Ghost Blasters: If you're like me, you like it for the effects. For everyone else, concentrate on shooting the targets. The props respond when you do so. Don't concentrate too much on shooting, though, or you'll miss the fun stuff.

Boomerang: Don't ride if you're over 5'3". Look out the side of all the loops if you start to black out.

Tower of Doom: Don't tighten your harness up all the way and lean forward when the operator comes by to check your harness. Next, when you get up to the top, hold your arms and legs straight out and you'll get off wobbly from the adrenalin rush.

Dragon Swing: Only go one of the ends. Let your arms float when necessary. (Let people go around you so you'll be at the front of the line.)

Half-Pipe: Really fun if you know how to ride it. A lot of people don't like it because they don't know the secrets. First, Make sure you do not tighten your harness all the way, especially if you're a guy. (Seriously... This is practical, not scare factor.) Second, always lean forward and keep your head outside the harness.) Now for the fun: Before you put your harness down, loosen the seat belt all the way and only lower the harness just far enough to buckle the seat belt. Lean forward pretty hard when the operator comes by or he'll tighten it up. (Not intentionally, just by checking the seat belt.) Next, As soon as the ride starts, put your hands and arms straight out. Feel like you're holding on by clamping the front harness with your arms and legs. This is a lot of work and makes you tired rather quickly, but the payoff is worth it. Once the ride is going high, you can loosen your "clamp" a bit and enjoy about four seconds of weightlessness on each end. It still scares me, so it's great fun.

Disaster Canyon: Too wet and not fun.

Shipwreck Falls: If it's hot, the sun is out, and you're wearing shorts, this is the perfect ride to remove a headache or cool off. You'll be mostly dry in 15-20 minutes. Sit in the middle. The front gets you too wet and the back soaks your shoes. Hold your feet off the floor on the way up the hill or else your shoes will get soaked. Once you're at the top, put your feet under your seat. Sit up straight with your eyes open to see the big wall of water. You won't get wet till the wall starts to fall. Once it falls, lean over to keep the front of your shirt dry. Once on the other side of the bridge, you're fine. Wait one splash before you exit the loading area or you'll get soaked on the bridge. (Unless you run, but a lot of people don't realize it until it's too late.)

Shake Rattle 'n Roll: Not very fun, in my opinion. Make sure you have nothing in your pockets and your shirt tucked in.

Thunderbolt: Ride by yourself. Sit cross-legged in the middle of the car and hold onto the sides of the car. Use lots of effort and swing the car back and forth as you go over the hills. You'll feel kind of powerless most of the time because the cars seem to oscillate at a 1/3 harmonic of the hills. I.E. Keep rocking and every third hill or so, you'll be able to swing your car WAY out. So far, in fact, that it's beyond horizontal and hits the steal frame. The operator will watch you but won't yell at you.

Twister II: Simple... Sit in the back for maximum thrill and keep your hands up the whole time. Believe it or not, you won't ever hit them no matter how high you stretch. The front is fun, too because you can see a whole lot more. If it's close to closing time, sit in an undesirable seat because, depending on how crowded it is, you might get to go again and again if you ask the operator.

Indian Almond

nteresting conversations can be heard at Elitches...

As most of you know, I bought a season pass at the beginning of the year and have been going fairly often each month. I think I've gone enough that the cost is now down to around $3.50 per visit.

I heard something that cracked me up Friday as I was leaving...
Person #1: "HEY! LOOK! Let's go on Cha-aws"
Person #2: "Hu?"
Person #1: "SEE?!? Look! That one right there! Cha-aws."
Person #2: "Oh, that one. Stop trying to speak Spanish."

Thursday, October 23, 2008


ar, Har, Har!

It's time for some "practical pleasantries"!


roan! This is going to get old. (Drawing letters, that is)

Do you like to think you're someone you're not?
Do you like to pretend you can single-handedly overcome any rebel group?
Do you like guns?
Do you like manipulating thousands of matrices with your PC?
Do you like to force your computer to do millions of memory operations per second?
Do you like the DACs on your video card to generate signals based on Linear Algebra?
Do you like to force your sound card to perform 3D vitalizations?
Do you like to tax every piece of your PC at once?

If you answered, "Yes!" to all of the above, then Far Cry 2 is for you! From preliminary reports, it appears to be as good, if not better than Far Cry. Download the 551MB demo today! (If you have a fairly good computer, that is :-)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


orget the old analog TV! February brings only digital pictures for your viewing pleasure! I've heard a lot of people complain about the federal mandate. Why should the government demand we watch high-quality TV?

As it turns out, there's quite a bit more to digital TV than a better picture. Way back in the "good old days" when radio became popular, problems started arising -- everyone wanted to broadcast. Back then, you didn't have your own blog; you had your own radio station. In order to do this, you, of course, needed your own station (or "frequency"). Otherwise, your radio waves would collide with someone else's radio waves, and when that happens, the radio waves cancel each other out, creating a tiny speck of light. Originally, this was no problem because there were enough frequencies (or "stations") to go around.

Just like blogs, the idea of having your own radio station spread like wildfire, and soon they ran out of frequencies. The way around that, of course, is to use someone else's frequency and transmit more powerfully than they do so you can "overwhelm" the other guy's radio waves. Well, the the other guy would do the same and boom! You have an even brighter speck of light.

The problem grew and grew. In the mid-1920s so many people were trying to transmit more powerfully than everyone else that in densely-populated areas like Chicago and New York City, the night sky became as bright as day. Tired and grouchy citizens demanded federal regulation on radio waves so they could once again sleep at night. Thus, the FCC was created.

One of the jobs of the FCC is to allocate ranges of frequencies for different purposes. This worked well for a while, but the demand for wireless communication has continued to grow. Once again, we are almost out of usable space. Digital transmitters seem to be the answer to this problem. A digital transmitter can transmit the same information in a much "skinnier" station. It's like using an old radio to listen to a Spanish station -- move that dial a a little and you've lost it. Using digital transmitters has made "skinnier" stations and thus frees up space. Since TV currently uses really fat stations, congress mandated that television be converted to digital to free up a large sections of frequencies; TV has gone on a diet.

(Ok, the colliding radio wave stuff isn't really true -- I was having fun making up stuff.)

I'd probably agree that TV should be converted to digital, but having Juris Naturalists tendencies, I don't believe the government should hand out coupons for converter boxes. I'm of the opinion that the Federal aid probably had the same effect on converter box prices as insurance companies on medical prices. Once the converter box coupons are gone, the price of the converter box might fall to $10-$20 a box.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


ver since I've edited video, I've used Pinnacle Studio. Using our ultra-fast 400MHz PC, Pinnacle and I produced my first "funny" video. (As with all of my "funny videos", it wasn't funny.) Over the years, I eventually bought a Pinnacle upgrade here and there, but I got downright disgusted with Pinnacle Studio. The program is less stable than Windows, and every $100 upgrade seems to degrade performance while adding nothing.

I recently edited the footage from a wedding and was dreading the long hours I'd be cutting clips from multiple cameras. I had heard good reports of Sony Vegas and decided to give it a go -- perhaps Sony had some kind of multi-camera editing tool. I downloaded the 30-day trial. WOW! Talk about easy! The program out-performed anything Pinnacle could do, it was stable, it was easy to use, and the list grew and grew the more I used it. I liked it so much I started thinking about buying it. The $400 price tag was a little too much for me, so I downloaded Sony Vegas Movie Studio, the $100 "lite" edition of Vegas Pro. As it turned out, the interface is identical between the editions. Sure, Movie Studio doesn't have as many features, but after comparing the differences, I found I really didn't need the features for the kinds of things I do. I eventually bought Movie Studio with only 7 days of trial to spare.

I installed it yesterday and played around with it a bit tonight:

As one review put it, Sony Vegas is the best NLE on the market and for some strange reason, the cheapest.

(And, yeah, the video is really cheesy... The music, especially. :-)

Sunday, October 19, 2008


ill, as I've been told, is a vegetable.

Me: Hey Mom?
Mom: Yes?
Me: Can Kellie and I go on a bike ride?
Mom: Ok.
Me: Kellie, Mom says we have to go on a bike ride.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


is for "Carrot."


ehold! A video celebrates the fact that my blog has been reopened!


nother day, another post. For some strange reason my blog... It's back!

There seems to be quite a few questions floating around out there about my blog, so I shall attempt to answer them.

Q: How many posts did you have on your blog before you deleted it?
A: 134.

Q: Can you un-delete your blog after you delete it?
A: No.

Q: So you lost all your posts?
A: No. I printed it all out before I deleted it.

Q: How many pages was it?
A: 134.

Q: One page per post?
A: On average, yes.

Q: How much did that cost?
A: I don't want to know.